By Brigitte Mars
As children, most of us had twenty teeth. As adults, the norm is thirty-two, some people who lose their second set of teeth get a third one – from their dentist! Many teeth problems can be helped with good nutrition and proper care.
Teeth are nourished through their roots, building and renewing from the materials we eat. Plaque tends to form at the base of the teeth and is difficult for even dentists to remove. Plaque can cause bad breath or bad taste in the mouth. An estimated 300 types of bacteria inhabit the mouth and about twenty of them are linked to gum disease.
Flossing is considered even more important than brushing. After a thorough flossing, use a soft brush and brush at a 45-degree angle at the gum line pressing gently. Brush not only the teeth for about two minutes but also the gums, and tongue with toothpaste or baking soda. Brushing too hard can cause gum recession and tooth destruction. Natural bristles can be too rough and sharp. Rounded bristles are gentler. Change your brush about every six weeks to three months. Use a disclosing tablet on occasion to note the areas that are being missed. There are a plethora of gadgets to clean your teeth. Talk to your dentist about what s/he suggests.
Brush after eating sticky foods such as dates and raisins as their sugars can stick to the teeth. If you do eat an occasional sweet, its best to do it at certain times rather than having a constant supply of long lasting hard candies that keep your mouth in an acidic condition. Refined carbohydrates, which break down too quickly also feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay.
Substances likely to stain teeth include coffee, tea, red wine, blueberries and tobacco. Rub a fresh cut raspberry or strawberry over the teeth for its natural whitening action due to their high concentration of acids. Snacks of crunchy food like raw carrots, celery, sunflower seeds and apples, massage the gums. It is important for beauty and dental health to chew on both sides, to keep the muscles developed equally.
Herbs for to Strengthen Teeth
Herbs that provide nutrients for strengthening the teeth that can be taken as capsules include alfalfa, blue green algae, horsetail, nettles, oatstraw and spirulina.
Calcium, the main element of which teeth are composed is a necessary nutrient for teeth and gums. Calcium and magnesium can help prevent bone loss and teeth grinding. Vitamin C deficiency can contribute to breakdown of connective tissue that produces blood vessel walls, bone matrix, cartilage, collagen and dentin. However it is best to avoid chewable Vitamin C, especially for adults, as the ascorbic acid can be corrosive to dental enamel. Deficiency of B vitamins, especially folic acid can cause weakened gums. Coenzyme Q 10 has been found helpful for gingivitis. It improves circulation and increases oxygen levels in the tissues.
You may find valerian root tincture relaxing before a dental appointment.
Taking a 500 mg. supplement of bromelain, an enzyme derived from pineapple, can help lessen swelling from dental surgery. Take some before and for a few days after major dental work. Homeopathic arnica 30c can also help reduce swelling and inflammation after dental surgery.
Natural Toothache Remedies
A toothache usually indicates it is time to visit the dentist. However, in the meantime applying a few drops of clove oil to the area is a natural anesthetic and germicide containing the active ingredient eugenol. For children, dilute the clove oil with equal amounts of olive oil.
A simple tooth cleaning powder can be made with 1 cup baking soda, 2 tablespoons sea salt and 5 drops essential oil such as anise, cinnamon, peppermint, rosemary, spearmint or tea tree. The essential oils freshen the breath and taste good. Baking soda cleans teeth, removes stains and does not damage tooth enamel. It also is antibacterial and neutralizes plaque acids. Salt helps to draw out agents that contribute to decay. Salt also helps to lessen the reactions of sensitive teeth from hot or cold and curbs bleeding from the gums. However, it is used in smaller amounts, as it is too abrasive if used excessively. Read labels on your tooth care products. Harsh chemicals in dental products can aggravate teeth sensitivity. Natural food stores have selections of beneficial products for mouth care.
Bleeding gums, loose teeth, change in bite and gum recession and inflammation are all indicators of periodontal disease. If it persists, periodontal may develop which can cause the tissue surrounding the teeth to be inflamed and the bones supporting the teeth to deteriorate. For bleeding gums, you can make a mouth rinse or use herbal tea of some of the herbs mentioned below to run through a Water PikT type device. A folk remedy for bleeding gums is to massage them with a piece of inner lemon rind.
Gargles and mouthwashes are made by either preparing a standard tea and allowing it to cool or by adding a dropperful of tincture to a glass of warm water. Gargle and or rinse the mouth swishing the liquid around in the mouth for at least a minute, and then spitting it into the sink.
Some herbs that would be good to use include:
Bloodroot contains the alkaloid sanguinarine, which helps prevent plaque from adhering to the teeth. Calendula relieves mouth ulcers and inflammation. It relaxes jaw tension and is antifungal, antiseptic, astringent and vulnerary.
Chamomile flowers is anti-inflammatory and can relieve the soreness due to inflamed gums. Goldenseal root, an antiseptic, reduces gum recession, infection, mouth sores and thrush. Use it topically for gum and tooth infections. Myrrh resin, also antiseptic improves mouth sores, gingivitis, gum recession, bleeding gums and infection. Neem herb reduces bacteria populations in the mouth. It strengthens the gums and prevents plaque buildup. Peppermint leaf is breath freshening and relieves gum inflammation.
Prickly Ash bark improves circulation and tightens gums. Sage leaves improve bleeding and receding gums, gingivitis and mouth sores. It is mildly antiseptic and healing to mouth ulcers. Spilanthes bark, which is antiseptic is used for treating gum infections.
White oak bark strengthens and tonifies tissue. It helps relieve bleeding and receding gums. Yarrow leaf promotes healing of mouth sores due to braces, surgery and overzealous teeth cleaning. Yarrow is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, circulatory stimulant and styptic. Yerba mansa leaf is an anti-plaque herb and good for gum recession. It is antiseptic, antifungal and astringent.
When we hold our jaws in a rigid way, we impair circulation to our teeth and gums. When having a few free moments, it is nice to gently massage the jaw over the teeth area to improve circulation.
It is always best to pay attention to your teeth before you are forced to take expensive action.
“Be true to your teeth or they’ll be false to you! ” Old folk saying